My husband and I recently celebrated our first year of marriage.  Woo hoo!

We asked each other to use one word to describe our first year as Mr. and Mrs. Washington.  Sean said freedom… Saying it felt good to be able to be 100 percent himself with me… the good, the bad, and the goofy.

My word… exposed.  We both looked surprised when the word came out of my mouth. This year has been filled with love, laughter and growth, but exposed is the word that summed up my personal journey this year.

Let me explain.

With Sean as my husband, I’ve never been more loved, supported, or encouraged in my life, especially on my health and fitness journey.  He cheers me on during my good days, and holds my hand on the rough days. Never any pressure to be or do anything more than my best.

But for some reason over the last year, I struggled to stay consistently on track, especially when it came to what I was putting on my plate. Why, when I felt more loved and appreciated than ever, was I struggling as hard as I did when I started on this journey five years ago?

The answer? That old, annoying habit of self-sabotage was EXPOSED. I thought I had buried it for good when I hit my 100 pounds lost milestone in 2015, but it reared its ugly head over the last year.

Why wouldn’t it? For the first time in my life, so much of what I had worked and prayed for was coming to pass.  Married to my best friend. Trusted with waking up an entire region as a morning anchor at WTKR News 3.  Releasing an unhealthy amount of weight and encouraging others to do the same.

You’d think I’d be coasting on cloud 9, but a little part of me whispered… You don’t deserve this.  So, a little bit at a time, some cheat meals, turned into cheat days… Not so much loading bad stuff on my plate… But eating way too much of the good stuff.

Sean saw me struggle, and without criticism, or judgement, or nagging, he held my hand, and reminded me that I deserve to live the life I’ve worked, dreamed and prayed for…  It is God’s desire that we live life, and live it abundantly. So why should I punish myself for having the joy God promised me?

I cannot explain the emotional and spiritual weight lifted when I released that word…. Exposed.  It put a new wind in my sails and motivated me to be true to the promise I made God when I started this journey: eat better and exercise more. Real love, honest love, loyal love, will be a true mirror. That’s what marriage has been for me this last year.

I pray everyone can experience a love like that, too.